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APIA Scholars Reacts to the Biden-Harris American Families Plan

APIA Scholars releases the following statement commending President Biden for the introduction of the American Families Plan, which includes important elements that will help promote APIA student success in higher education.


Washington, DC (April 29, 2021)

APIA Scholars applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for proposing unprecedented investments in our nation’s students and their families. By increasing the maximum Pell Grant and expanding Pell eligibility to include Dreamers, the administration underscores one of our core beliefs: that college opportunity should not be contingent on financial means. Moreover, the American Families Plan includes important investments in the nation’s colleges and universities that serve students historically excluded from higher education, particularly the nation’s Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) and all other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

“These institutions play a critical role in educating the nation’s APIA students–the nation’s fastest growing demographic–many of whom are the first to go college in their families and come from low-income households,” said APIA Scholars Senior Vice President, Julie Ajinkya. “Thanks to the American Family Plan, AANAPISIs would receive funding to decrease tuition and make college more affordable for students from families earning less than $125,000.”

AANAPISI leaders note that including these institutions in this investment is a long awaited acknowledgement of their efforts to serve the diverse APIA student population. “While comprising only 5% of the colleges and universities in the country, AANAPISIs enroll 40% of all APIA students,” says Dr. Mike Hoa Nguyen, assistant professor of education at the University of Denver. “This plan’s $46 billion investment in AANAPISIs and all other MSIs will support the educational opportunity and success of the many low-income, first-generation APIA students who attend an AANAPISI.”

APIA Scholars partners with many AANAPISI campuses to administer an annual scholarship to students and applauds further investment in these institutions’ ability to meet the needs of underserved APIA students. “We want AANAPISIs to be able to learn from one another in meeting students where they are and preparing them for impactful lives post-graduation,” said Dr. Ajinkya. “These institutions do important work and the ones steering students to success should be lifted up as instructive examples for the larger community.”

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Based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 2003, Asian & Pacific Islander American (APIA) Scholars is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to creating opportunities that provide access to higher education and resources that cultivate the academic, personal and professional success of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs). These efforts aim to advance the conversation around access to education, elevate the voice of the APIA community, and empower APIA leaders to drive systemic change. APIA Scholars has impacted the lives of more than 1 million APIA students, involved more than 250 corporate funders to elevate and amplify its message, and mobilized thousands of congressional members, policy makers and researchers to take action in support of APIA community advancement.